Today, I happened upon a couple of message boards online where people were “discussing” grocery store music. Some were ranting, some were raving about the music in their local grocery. From “I LOVE the music they play at our grocery store. So many sweet love songs!” to “If I have ever again have to hear the band Bread sing “Baby I’m A Want You” while choosing T.P., I just might have to take hostages.”

It’s interesting to hear people talk about their grocery store shopping experiences. Lately I’ve had people tell me how much they like the music in their grocery store. The nurse giving me a flu shot told me how she was singing along out loud at her grocery store recently. I’d take credit for all of these happy people if I knew it was the music I had programmed making them happy.

Reading the message boards, someone always throws in the studies about how music in major chords with moderate tempos makes you buy more and that’s why grocery stores play it. It’s nothing more than a tricky sales tactic to get you to buy more, they say. I expect there are also studies that show music in a major chord with a moderate tempo makes people generally happier. It’s pretty common knowledge that music in a minor chord sounds sad and melancholic — at least to those of us in North America. Slower music can be a depressant in some situations. Discordant music makes you want to distance yourself from it, especially if you haven’t chosen to listen to it. What I’m trying to point out is that grocery stores choose music that their customers are going to LIKE. Is that a sales ploy? They also display their fruits and vegetables in a manner pleasing to the eye. They keep the aisles wide and the store well lit. Those may all be sales tactics to make you enjoy your trip to the store more and therefore buy more or maybe they just “make sense.”

Groceries serve one of the broadest customer bases that a store can serve so they may not please the eclectic tastes of every customer, but the major chords and moderate tempos are generally pleasing to old and young even when the songs might be unfamiliar. I hope you notice and enjoy your grocery store’s music.

– Submitted by Janice Williams, Music Design